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PUTRAJAYA, 30 June 2017:

“Forgot where the passport was placed” and “Lost it while moving to a new house” – these are the most common excuses Malaysians come up with, when explaining the loss of their passports.

According to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department statistics, 22,475 out of 31,287 passport holders who had lost the documents between January and June 2 this year claimed they could not remember where they had placed the passports while 2,858 holders said the passports might have been lost when moving house.

Director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the lackadaisical attitude of the people was among factors contributing to the high number of such cases despite the bearers being required to take extra care in safeguarding these valuable documents.

“Losing Malaysian passports seems to be common, be they in the country or abroad. Losing due to theft is still acceptable but if that occurs frequently, then it is not good.”

He said the statistics showed that Johor recorded the highest number of such cases involving 5,734 passports, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,399) and Selangor (3,409).

“As for cases which occurred overseas, Australia has recorded the highest number with 43 lost passports, followed by Singapore (41), Hong Kong (11) and France (10).

“Most of these cases are due to robbery, theft, dropping out of pockets and others,” said Mustafar, adding that there had been cases in which a person claimed to have lost the passport four times.

As such, he urged passport holders to be more responsible with the documents and not keep them all over the place to avoid losing them.

Since Malaysian passports were among the most sought-after passports in the world, Mustafar said the government is now considering to impose a heavier penalty on those who lost the documents – in a bid to thwart would-be forgers.

“The regulations need to be amended. The proposed penalty is a RM200 fine for the first time, RM500 (second time) and RM1,000 for the third and subsequent times. This is not to punish but to teach the people to be more responsible with their passports.”

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